Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Why My Mother Would Have Cancelled My Subscription to the Episcopal Church Publishing Catalog

I received a special delivery the other day. A copy of the Spring 2011 Church Publishing Inc. catalog appeared on my desk. Church Publishing Incorporated publishes the official worship materials for the Episcopal Church. Turning the catalog over, I noticed that the name and address of the original recipient had been marked through. I immediately suspected the work of that loyal friend, Deep Prie-Dieu. Thumbing through the pages, I was shocked to see what Church Publishing Inc. has been sending through the U.S. mail,

You can download the nasty thing here, but your computer may reject it if parental controls are in place.

Here is a small sample of their offerings.

Keep Your Courage: a Radical Christian Feminist Speaks
by Carter Heyward

"• a new collection of writings by one of the world’s leading radical
theologians, who is widely read and admired by a generation of
feminist thinkers all over the globe..."
" this volume of occasional pieces, the lesbian feminist theologian
bears witness to the sacred struggles to topple oppressive power. these
pieces illustrate feminist theology’s bold and transformative engagement
of its cultural, political, social, and theological contexts."
Gifted by Otherness: gay and lesbian Christians in the Church
by William Countryman and M.R. Ritley
"an affirming guidebook to the journey of those who are gay or lesbian, as well as Christian, and their unique call to reveal the gospel’s central message of inclusion in today’s church."
Radical Love: an Introduction to Queer theology
Patrick S. Cheng
"the first accessible introduction to an important, developing area of
Christian theology"
"Radical Love is the first introductory textbook on the subject of
queer theology.
Queer theology is concerned with questions about the meaning of existence,
as posed by lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, and other 'queer' seekers."
As My Own Soul: The Blessing of Same-gender Marriage
by Chris Glaser

Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality
by Tobias Stanislas Haller

In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God
by Gene Robinson
Christian Holiness & Human Sexuality:
A Study guide for Episcopalians
Marilyn McCord Adams, Wil GafneY, A. Katherine
Grieb, Louis Weil, Ellen k. Wondra, Rowan Smith,
and Sylvia Sweeney, Contributors

"...a study guide for episcopalians
who want to understand how all Christian people can exercise their
baptismal vocation in the fullness of their sexual identity."
On Being a gay Parent: Making a Future Together
by Brett Webb-Mitchell

Gay Unions: In the light of Scripture,Tradition, and Reason
by Gray Temple

Same-sex unions: Stories and Rites
by Paul V. Marshall
Turn the page and you find the appropriately placed,
Good Lord, Deliver Us: A Lenten Journey by
Leonard M. Freeman and Lindsay H. Freeman

and all this time they have been sending it without a brown paper cover!

I showed this catalog to a few typical, but diverse Rock Hillians of childrearing age who happened to be gathered around the water cooler. I then asked this simple question,
"Would you and your family want to join this church?"
100% answered, "No way!"

Thank God that someone out there is teaching our parents in the way of the Lord.

So, is there any mystery why the Episcopal church can't attract young people?

(Church Publishing Incorporated is part of the Church Pension Group, so sales will help pay for your rector's and some of these author's retirements.)


  1. Anonymous1:25 AM

    Sales aren't that great, as I understand it. Don't think the Pension Group is holding its breath waiting for revenue. Did you notice my little publication in there, or was it not included again?

  2. the gospel’s central message of inclusion in today’s church. . .

    Query, how do the author's dovetail the whole "narrow is the way and few there be who find it" (my emphasis) stuff in Christ's own words with the assertion that the Gospel's central message is "inclusion."

    Or, "I am the way, the truth and the light. No man comes to the Father but by me?"


  3. Rob+,

    I searched the catalog and you do not appear to be included.

    Narrow is the way into the Episcopal Church catalog...

  4. Randall,

    The "gospel of radical inclusion" (critical article by the Rev. Robert J. Sanders, Ph.D. February, 2005) continues to find a wide open doorway into the Episcopal church.

    Other than the first twelve verses of John which seems acceptable to most liberal preachers, much of the rest of John's Gospel gets turned and twisted into Episcobabble especially when it comes to the question of "exclusion."

    Didn't you hear that people "have been wounded by oppressive religion.." and need "to create an environment where persons are free to live their individual truth...."?? (link takes you to

  5. If you want to attract young people to church, you must realize they are looking for the supernatural. What are the most popular books and movies? Supernatural ones - vampires, angels, dragons, wizards. By using the 1928 BCP we can speak to them in supernatural phrases and engender the awe and mystery of a reverent service that will culminate in the suspension of the laws of physics on earth as Our Lord is summoned to appear as Bread and Wine. Now that's supernatural!

    There is nothing awe-inspiring, reverent or supernatural about a 1979 BCP service - I can hug people at home.

  6. "to create an environment where persons are free to live their individual truth...."

    I may have said this in a comment to another of your posts, but Christ does not call us to be "self-actualized," but for our selves, which are vehicles of sin, to be "crucified" with Him so that He can live in and through us. That is the true power of the cross: We "die" and are buried with Him to be raised to walk with Him in the true fullness of life.

    Not only should the Self be the last thing emphasized in the Christian walk, it should be eliminated from our walk. Our entire theology was turned on it's head the moment we got the idea that God wants us to "be ourselves."


  7. Wow, Feel like I need to wash after reading that list.

  8. Anonymous12:51 PM

    That's ok. It was for a limited audience. There's a few sales every year. It is a manual for training acolyte leaders. Just not sexy enough for advertising.

  9. Further, to Dr. Sanders' illuminating article, let me suggest taking a look at this. You only need to watch about two minutes to get the drift, but you can see the influences of this sort of Gnosticism all over the place.

    @Kelso. I would say young people are looking for transcendent Truth. Giving them a guide which says, essentially, "Do what you want; It doesn't matter" sets off even their BS-O-Meters.



  10. Randall's link takes you to a video, you may want to fast forward to 2:50. Yikes!

  11. Anonymous3:25 PM

    grow up and stop proof-texting. It's getting old.

  12. As the context of this posting is the whole of Scripture and Christian tradition, a charge of proof-texting is totally self-serving and disingenuous.

  13. Anon, an indictment of prooftexting is only warranted if, the quote selected is not representative of the author's work. In this post, UP's selections would be such only if the quoted abstracts were not indicative of the authors' theses in the texts. Further, prooftexting is applicable only if the critic is drawing conclusions contrary to those of the author. It is not prooftexting to examine the premises of an argument and question their validity, in order to demonstrate the falsity of the conclusion which follows. Such is the practice of Rhetoric/Logic.

  14. Thanks Randall,

    Since no one has come to my defense for refusing to grow up, I'll respond with two words, "Die Blechtrommel."

  15. UP, I bow in your general direction, given that I read Grass' work in college. I hereby declare you "Well Read."

    [Smiley Face Thing]


  16. Maggie8:40 PM

    But don't you know that it is only through radical inclusion that we are going to get our ASA numbers up? Obviously this will attract all those families with young children who want to go to church with such open minded people. I'd sure want my kids to look through that rag and start asking me "mommy, what does that mean?"